ITI – April 2020: Part Three

Another week has arrived, and I have a quiet schedule. This is likely because ITI decided to experiment with its systems, and as a result, the teacher search engine stopped working properly. While it was frustrating not being as busy as I was last month, I will try to see it as a good thing because it means I get to have a break and also catch up on life and teaching admin. I seriously need to update my teaching video and make it crystal clear what lessons I offer, as well as add a disclaimer at the end of the video, so students know what to do when booking lessons with me.

When I woke up on Monday morning, I had a few messages from potential students. One was a lady from France who booked a 60-minute class even though my profile states that new students should book a 30 minute one. I messaged her to say rebook a 30-minute class, but she said that she finds having 30-minute lessons frustrating and if I let her have a 60-minute class, she’ll complete the placement test. Err, I don’t think so, love. I said, “No, my profile specifically states new students should book a 30-minute trial lesson with me as well as complete a placement test. This is due to past experience.” After I hit the send button, I thought, “Why am I giving this cheeky cow the time of day? I can’t be arsed.” I blocked her.

After checking that message, I had a lesson request from a Chinese student. I declined the request and asked her to book a 30-minute trial lesson with me. She said okay, but it was for her 10-year-old daughter. I heard stories about this. Chinese parents were creating online accounts so their children can have classes online, but not inform the teacher that it’s for their child. The teacher will only know this until they have the lesson and a child appears on the screen instead of an adult. Some teachers have no problem teaching children; however, a lot don’t want to teach them. Why? Children are temperamental. While they are inquisitive and can learn quickly, they also get bored easily, and as a result, they can misbehave in class. It can also be time-consuming having to prepare for a lesson because teachers have to ensure the work is engaging. You also have to deal with their parents who force their children to attend English lessons and put pressure on them to do well in class so they can attend the better schools in their region. This can have an effect on the child because they may not want to learn English and take it out on the teacher.

The final two weeks of April were mostly non-eventful. My lessons were with regular students; however, one of them messaged me, saying they had to work from home, but their friend wanted to have English lessons. I said, okay. The lesson went okay, though his English wasn’t that great. I was a bit unsure about giving him lessons again, but the student is a regular and books packages with me, so I didn’t want to upset them if they refused to give their friend future lessons. I also couldn’t be bothered to send them a placement test to confirm their English level because I was going to take a break and I didn’t think he would have lessons with me again. He ended up buying a package from me and was very ambitious about what topics he wanted to talk about. He wanted to talk about the skill of humour. It’s a topic I would expect from one of my intermediate students. I thought, “Okay, let’s give it a go and see how he handles it.”

The lesson went okay. I played a few video clips from TED Talk and asked him to read some articles related to the matter. He made a good attempt, but he mispronounced a lot of the words. When I gave him feedback and corrected his pronunciation, he would pronounce it correctly first time round but would mispronounce it each time he would repeat himself. I told him I would set him homework and ask him to practice pronouncing them. One of the articles talked about different types of humour, and it had a quiz at the end, one of those “What type of animal are you?” and you choose the answer that best suits you. When we went through it, he was pulling this weird face, like he was smirking and it was weird as hell. I didn’t say anything but tried hard to keep a straight face. The lesson came to an end. I thanked him for his time and see him soon. After the lesson, I was teaching his friend who’s a regular. I just said the lesson was okay and proceeded with the lesson. I don’t remember the topic we discussed, but it was a good lesson as per.

All of my classes were finished for the week, and I was relieved. The last 2-3 months were intense, and I needed a break. I decided to have a two-week break because I was burnt out from having constant lessons and going into workaholic mode. I made all of my students aware, so they could plan accordingly.

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